Oct 19, 2011

“Zero Tolerance” Republicans’ NRCC Finance Chairman Under Federal Investigation

Late yesterday news broke that the National Republican Congressional Committee Finance Chairman, Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13), is under federal investigation by the Department of Justice for an “extensive and ongoing” campaign finance scheme to reimburse employees who contributed to his campaign. Republican Leader Eric Cantor has pledged a “zero tolerance policy” on ethics issues and NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions appointed Buchanan as his NRCC Finance Vice Chair.

“Will House Republican leaders including Leader Cantor and Chairman Sessions stand idly by while Congressman Vern Buchanan - the chief fundraiser to preserve their majority - is under investigation by the Department of Justice for campaign finance schemes?” asked Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “This is just the latest test of Republican’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy – will they live by their own rules?”

Background

Vern Buchanan under investigation by Department of Justice. “Rep. Vern Buchanan is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegations that he asked a former business associate to reimburse employees who made donations to his campaign account, a local paper reported. The Bradenton Herald, which is based in the Republican’s western Florida district, first reported that the DOJ was investigating whether Buchanan, a former car dealership owner, asked his associate, Sam Kazran, to encourage employees to make straw donations to the lawmaker.” [POLITICO, 10/18/11]

Eric Cantor Pledged Zero-Tolerance on Ethics Violations. “I think that as Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy — that we understand there are reasons for our being fired in '06 and '08 […] We cannot tolerate any ethics violations or behavior in terms of compromising the ethics that the people expect us to have as their representatives.”  [YouTube, uploaded 8/10/10]

Florida Independent: FEC: Buchanan’s former dealership violated the law in an ‘extensive and ongoing scheme.’ “A federal court is imposing a $67,900 fine on a car dealership once owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for what the Federal Election Commission calls an ‘extensive and ongoing scheme’ to funnel ‘secret, illegal contributions’ to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 campaigns.” [Florida Independent, 6/1/11]

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions appointed Buchanan as the NRCC’s Finance Vice Chair on January 14, 2011. [NRCC Press Release, 1/14/2011]


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